Baxter considers revising special events policy
BAXTER — Special events fully contained on private property without the use of city services would no longer require a permit with a new Baxter ordinance.
In a report to the city council, Kelly Steele, assistant city administrator, said the purpose of the ordinance is an attempt to eliminate some of the events the city was permitting on private property.
The city has been issuing special event permits but didn’t have an established ordinance. Now some of those events will no longer meet the city definition of a special event requiring a permit. Permits are not required for weddings, funeral ceremonies and funeral processions, events with fewer than 300 people at one time without special services and no alcohol sales.
With the new, proposed ordinance, a special event permit would be required if there were:
• alcohol sales.
• at least 300 or more people in attendance.
• a permit required for a temporary structure.
• admission or rental fees charged or donations accepted.
• the requirement for special services, such as road closures, traffic control or security.
Previously, the city charged a special event permit fee of $35. Steele said the ordinance retains the city’s ability to charge a fee and bill for special services, but the plan was to eliminate the $35 permit fee for all. Use of a temporary structure has its own fee as would a temporary sign.
In the reasoning for eliminating the special event permit fee, Steele said most of the special events are for nonprofits and fundraising purposes. Additionally, processing the $35 fee costs more than its worth, Steele said.
The new ordinance is designed to regulate the time and manner of special events when they impact “the health, sanitary, fire, police, transportation and utility services exceed those regularly provided to that property” and to ensure events don’t pose a safety threat, disrupt traffic or cause property damage.
“It is not the intent of the city council by enacting this section to regulate in any manner the content of speech or infringe upon the right to assemble, except for regulating the time, place and manner os speech and assembly,” the ordinance states.
Special event permit applications must be made in writing. Steele said city staff, herself or the police chief would decide if a permit was needed or special services required. If an event is larger, such as the need to shut down a city street for a longer period of time, it could be referred back to a city committee or the council.